Happy Holidays to one and all in what has been the most tumultuous year many of us have ever experienced. As 2020 draws to a close (phew!), at least one thing remains unchanged: it’s time once again for the annual Writers’ Rumpus Review! Every December, I feel like a kid in a candy store who salivates over all of the treats, but must face the harrowing decision of which to buy with limited funds. As in previous years, I’ll highlight one post from each of our talented 2020 writers (with handy links and a snippet of content from each). But you, our treasured readers, should feel free to peruse any post, any time, from the comfort and safety of your home, all while munching or sipping on the treats of your choice. So kick back and let the 2020 Writers’ Rumpus Review begin!
Carrie Charley Brown
IS READING PART OF YOUR WRITING DIET?
January 31, 2020
As fellow Writers’ Rumpus bloggers and also the partners that bring you the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) Challenge every March, Kirsti Call and I consume mentor texts as part of our regular writing diet. Studying another writer’s approach to craft is an incomparable ingredient, and one that we can’t live without.
INTERVIEW OF TALENTED AUTHOR, MARCIE COLLEEN
Marcie Colleen is the kind of person who makes you happy just by being around her. She is one of the most supportive kidlit authors I’ve ever met and I’m so excited to interview her on Writer’s Rumpus today.
Bear’s Garden is a delightful story of hope, imagination and growth. What was your inspiration for the story? (Your author’s note explains this, but I’d love to know more!)
PLOTTING AND PANTSING THEIR WAY TO A DEBUT
This month, I told the authors and illustrators of the Soaring ’20s debut group that it was time to come clean…about their writing process that is. So I asked them, are you a plotter or a pantser? Here’s what they said about writing their debut.
I’ve taught descriptive literary techniques to middle and high schoolers alike. But in my humble opinion, we should never outgrow the desire to add vivid descriptive details to our stories. Which elements you add to YOUR personal toolbox (grammar and/or figurative language) depends on your unique writing style. No matter which collection of descriptive writing tools you choose, all will help you SHOW instead of TELL!
KIDS, AND THE DAUNTING WORLD OF WRITING
March 10, 2020
I love creating new stories that will hopefully be enjoyed someday by young readers.
Though, what about those people who don’t choose the writer’s life? What about those people who want nothing to do with writing, but still have to do it anyway? Talk about frustrating. Those people I’m talking about? Kids.
The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Haley Chewins is a mystical middle-grade novel that celebrates the importance of family, resilience, and belonging. Chewins masterfully builds a magical world where three sisters and their magical dogs, known as droomhunds, live alone in a house that is bewitched to care for them. While they can have most everything they want, Willow, Mayhap, and Pavonine just want to be reunited with their parents.
CAROL GORDON EKSTER: Charnelle, what beautiful illustrations you created for Alice Faye Duncan’s text, JUST LIKE A MAMA, a lyrical read aloud celebrating adopted children, reminding them that they are chosen, cherished and loved, by Simon and Schuster, January 2020.
This is your first book but you are no stranger to illustration. You are Jerry Pinkney’s granddaughter, who won the Caldecott Medal in 2010, and many other awards. He is one of my favorite illustrators, so I was thrilled to interview you.
TWIN BOOK BABIES ARE BORN!
October 27, 2020
Today, October 27th, 2020 is a pretty special day for me. Two books, for which I wrote the words, are being released (amazingly, they’re my 14th and 15th books! eek!).
BOOK REVIEW: A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A. Brown
August 28, 2020
This YA fantasy takes the reader to a desert city and immerses them in an ancient culture salted with a Moroccan flavor. I selected A Song of Wraiths and Ruin last month from the DiverseBooks.org listing of Black authors and/or Black main characters. This inventive, just-released, romance/adventure features both.
Told in dual-POV, Malik speaks first as he and his sisters conceal their Eshran heritage to enter the city of Ziran after surviving a grueling journey from their homeland across the desert.
DECEMBER PICTURE BOOK OPPORTUNITIES
December 1, 2020
Wrap up 2020 and look ahead to 2021 with this month’s roundup of Picture Book Opportunities!
To see what’s available all year ’round, and what’s coming up in 2021, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.
MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW:
THE ELEPHANT’S GIRL by CELESTA RIMINGTON
June 19, 2020
The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington (Random House, May 2020) is a charming middle grade novel that explores the nature of family, friendship, and honoring the past through the relationship of one young girl and an ex-circus elephant. Full of heart and featuring a family mystery, this book will delight and enchant young readers who love animals, zoo and circus settings, and just the lightest touch of magic.
SELF CARE IN WRITING
March 24, 2020
Recently, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Write or Die with Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho. (A podcast that I cannot recommend enough for any writer). Claribel and Kat started the podcast talking about the struggles of becoming published, the road bumps they hit along the way. And it made me feel seen. Like I wasn’t the only one who was in this position. So I’ve compiled all of my suggestions and tips in how to keep sane during this road of publishing.
Cathy Ogren (Alumni & Guests)
SEVEN QUESTIONS FOR VIVIAN KIRKFIELD
April 7, 2020
Cathy Ogren: Welcome, Vivian.
Vivian Kirkfield: Thank you so much, Cathy!
CO: I’m so pleased to interview you for this blog. In your newest nonfiction biography, Making Their Voices Heard, why did you decide to focus on the friendship Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe had for each other rather than their enormous talents?
FIND YOUR JOY
April 17, 2020
Every day my facebook feed is full of the trials and tribulations of everything being closed. It is also full of people who are overly positive about the whole situation. Honestly, I fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve been writing almost everyday. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. I wonder if I’m using my time at home effectively. A poem by Emma Zeck beckons me:
Josh Roberts (Alumni & Guests)
WHY KIDLIT NEEDS MORE UPPER-MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS
May 26, 2020
If there was one thing I knew about my book, even as an unpublished author languishing in the slush pile, it was who I’d written it for: the tweens and younger teens who’ve started to outgrow traditional middle-grade books, but aren’t yet interested in the themes they encounter in older-skewing young adult novels.
September 8, 2020
We’ve all heard we have to stay-in-our-chairs to accomplish our work. We’ve also heard we have to walk 10,000 steps to stay healthy. They say sitting is the new smoking—yikes. Since there are only so many hours in a day, how can we non-runners possibly achieve this on a regular basis?
Joyce Audy Zarins
THIS IS HOW I GROW: WESLEY DAVIES, VERSATILE ILLUSTRATOR
This is How I Grow by Dia L. Michels was beautifully illustrated by new talent Wesley Davies whose digital art skilfully depicts various species of young mammals. This fifty-two-page book tells the story of eight diverse mammals – how they are born, nurse, wean, and then forage or hunt to feed themselves. Their mothers help them survive from birth until they are “all grown up,” as the refrain at the end of each section notes.
This is just a sampling of the helpful, thoughtful, and entertaining posts that Writers’ Rumpus offers, and I can’t wait to discover what amazing posts 2021 will bring! I wish each and every one of you a safe, joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year.